The Manchester Board of Aldermen enacted emergency legislation Monday night and unanimously approved four separate bills moving forward the development of the new Tuscan Valley Creek Subdivision at 740 Sulphur Spring Road.
Subdivision developer CJM Investment, LLC said the neighborhood will sit on 4.15 acres of land and is expected to include eight homes which will be a combination of two-story and ranch style houses. They will sell from $400,000 to $550,000.
CJM requested the emergency legislation from aldermen citing the need to get certain requests approved quickly so some work, including pouring the neighborhood entrance street, can be completed prior to the arrival of winter weather. Mike Lawless, a representative with CJM, said they need to have homes being built by springtime when the housing market typically picks up.
"As far as the emergency legislation, if we don't get it done, it could be March or April before we could even build a house, which would be a very hard chip on us and we'd very much like to get the street done," Lawless told board members prior to the vote Monday night.
Aldermen agreed the issues were time sensitive and approved a number of agreements between the city of Manchester and CJM including an escrow agreement, a cash deposit agreement, a maintenance agreement and approval of a subdivision plat. These agreements can be viewed in the PDF portion of this article.
However, prior to the vote, Bryan Ziegler, who lives adjacent to the new neighborhood, expressed concerns over the emergency legislation and asked board members to hold off on voting so quickly.
"Over the years I have asked my aldermen, this board and the parks department to consider this land for use as a park. This consideration seems to have fallen on deaf ears, as I never heard from anyone about pursuing this idea formally. It leads me to believe that you don't care about expanding the parks system," Ziegler told aldermen.
The Tuscan Valley Creek Subdivision is in Ward 3, represented by aldermen John Schrader and John Diehl. Both said it was previously determined that the land would be used for residential and not a park.
"We did address that as a park at some time, but it was determined we did not want to spend the money on that," Diehl said.
Ziegler also expressed concerns over the higher cost of the homes and if they would sell in a tough economic time.
"Currently, housing around this land averages less than $200,000 and are single-story ranch houses. How does this project fit into the area?" Ziegler asked. "Am I asking you to not vote for this? No. I am simply asking you to delay your decision on this project and do your homework as elected officials. Ask the neighbors what they think. Consider whether or not these houses looking over a creek and drainage culvert will really sell."
Aldermen and CJM appeared to take Ziegler's concerns seriously, addressing them Monday night.
Both Diehl and Schrader said they spoke with residents in that area and they have not anyone tell them they were opposed to the development.
Lawless said he and other CJM reps also met with about six people who live near the new neighborhood.
"My sense was totally different. The people I talked to told me they were not opposed to it," Lawless said. He explained that one neighbor told the developer that he did not want to look out of his window and see cement from the new homes, so Lawless said CJM made the commitment that it would frame the walk-outs with siding so the already existing neighbors will not be looking at concrete on the news homes. In addition, he said there will be landscaping down that particular property line.
Lawless said they've been studying the area for approximately five months, which is one of the reasons it came down to requesting emergency legislation. He said that by the end of this week or the beginning of next week they need to get the sewers in, the water in and the streets down before the snow starts.
Lawless tells Town and Country - Manchester Patch that CJM already has names of interested parties for this new subdivision.
"I feel very strongly that there will be a demand for this subdivision," Lawless told aldermen and the public Monday night. "This is the first single- family subdivision of detached nature that has been built in that area in six years. I was involved in the last one. It had six houses, Sterling Place, and we had 40 names of people who wanted to live there."
Alderman Michael Clement said neighbors were also invited to a recent Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to learn more about the proposed subdivision.
Alderwoman Marilyn Ottenad expressed concerns to CJM about the home's being built in an flood plain and residents having to acquire flood insurance.
Project Engineer for CJM Todd Brady said the current flood plain level was taken into consideration during the design of the new neighborhood.
"That's at least a foot above the 100 year flood plain," Brady said.
It was after the above discussion that board members voted 5:0 and passed all four bills Monday night, moving forward with the subdivision development.
"If you can get $400,00 plus for the homes, that just makes my property values go up," Schrader said.